We do love The Eurovision Song Contest every year, and this usually involves watching the event with friends and copious amounts of food and drink inspired by the participating countries.
As we were hosting this year, I made the national dish of 2012 hosts of The Eurovision Song Contest, Azerbaijan.
A staple of the people of Azerbaijan is Plov, a sort of paella with a very different method of cooking. I went with the Chicken variety, but Lamb is probably more popular in the restaurants of Baku.
- 500g Chicken thighs
- 500g Long grain rice
- 150 – 200ml vegetable oil
- 500g carrots
- 2 large onions
- 1 head of garlic
- 3 hot chillies
- Before you start, soak the rice in water and it will have lost most of its starchy-ness by the time it is needed.
- Fry the chicken thighs in the vegetable oil until they start to brown
- Cut the onions into rings and add to the pan and cook until these brown too
- Cut the carrots into little crudité shapes and add them to the pan and keep cooking on a high heat until the carrots start to soften and brown slightly
- Add half a tablespoon of cumin and stir well
- Cover the mixture with hot water and leave to simmer until most of the water is absorbed
- Drain the rice and pour in over the mix to cover it completely DO NOT STIR!!!
- Add more hot water so that the rice is submerged and still refrain from stirring and salt well
- Keep the gas high and add more water if necessary
- When all the water is absorbed and the rice is still slightly al dente, place on a low heat and steam for about 20 minutes. Place the whole chillies and garlic head in the rice layer while it all steams.
- Remove the chillies and garlic and stir the mixture
- Allow to rest for a minute or two before piling high on a serving plate and adding the chillies and garlic back to the pile for that final touch